Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai Movie Review (2023)

Apoorv Singh Karki

Apoorv Singh Karki’s ‘Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai’ is an earnest, well-acted courtroom drama that needed more tension

Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai Movie Review

Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai Movie Cast & Crew

Production : Bhanushali Studios Limited,Zee Studios
Director : Apoorv Singh Karki
Music Director : Sangeet Haldipur,Roy

Apoorv Singh Karki’s Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is based on the 2013 child sexual abuse case fought against Asaram Bapu. The case was handled by Advocate PC Solanki, who is brought to life by Manoj Bajpayee. And I really mean it when I say "brought to life". Manoj Bajpayee's performance is both an incarnation as well as an acting lesson on how to mug up a big speech and deliver it as though the words are coming out of your mouth for the very first time. He uses an accent. He uses gestures and pauses. Sometimes, he speeds up words, sometimes he slows them down for emphasis. Manoj Bajpayee may no longer be able to "disappear" into a role – he's too famous now, and we always see the actor before the character. But that's perhaps why this performance is even more impressive. Even as we keep marvelling at the actor, we never lose sight of the character, Advocate PC Solanki. It's a tricky double game, and Manoj Bajpayee plays it beautifully.

The film opens with the minor girl registering the complaint. She is accompanied by her small-town parents, and in a refreshing turn of events, there's no shame or reluctance – only anger, and the burning desire to bring the godman to justice. In another nice touch, Solanki is shown to be a very religious man, whose prayers are filled with rituals. And yet, he is not frazzled by a self-proclaimed man of God. In a rather pointed line, when his son asks who Shiva is, he says that the God is the destroyer of demons and darkness. In his own quiet way, then, PC Solanki turns into Shiva inside the courtroom, where he meticulously destroys very famous and powerful and corrupt lawyers without getting intimidated by their reputation or their riches. Outside the court, he is threatened by the Baba's goons, but he never wavers from what he has set out to do.

Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai is beautifully shot by Arjun Kukreti, with gorgeous deep-focus compositions in a variety of wide spaces. Editor Sumeet Kotian gives the film a fine rhythm – the cuts are seamless, and there's never a dull moment. But there's also no element of surprise. When we see Delhi Crime Season One (based on the Nirbhaya case) or Talvar (based on the Aarushi Talwar case), we know the basic story – but what keeps us invested is the fresh spin, the new angle, the point of view the writer is able to bring in. Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, on the other hand, is just a meticulous recounting of events. (Deepak Kinrani is the writer.) It's never dull, but not very dramatic either. There's no tension. The film is competent at best, but in these days of content overload, is that enough?

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Baradwaj Rangan

National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan, former deputy editor of The Hindu and senior editor of Film Companion, has carved a niche for himself over the years as a powerful voice in cinema, especially the Tamil film industry, with his reviews of films. While he was pursuing his chemical engineering degree, he was fascinated with the writing and analysis of world cinema by American critics. Baradwaj completed his Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations through scholarship. His first review was for the Hindi film Dum, published on January 30, 2003, in the Madras Plus supplement of The Economic Times. He then started critiquing Tamil films in 2014 and did a review on the film Subramaniapuram, while also debuting as a writer in the unreleased rom-com Kadhal 2 Kalyanam. Furthermore, Baradwaj has authored two books - Conversations with Mani Ratnam, 2012, and A Journey Through Indian Cinema, 2014. In 2017, he joined Film Companion South and continued to show his prowess in critiquing for the next five years garnering a wide viewership and a fan following of his own before announcing to be a part of Galatta Media in March 2022.